Fredrik Ohlsson, Head of IT- Northvolt
As we prepare to host our first CIO Europe event in Stockholm, Sweden in March 2020, our Head of Production for Europe, Craig McKenna, recently spoke to registered attendee Fredrik Ohlsson, Head of IT at Northvolt on the issues in the IT industry which are most prominent in the Nordics region.
Following 14 years at Tetra Pak, Fredrik joined Northvolt at Head of IT in August 2019. Over his career his major accomplishments include the implementation of global BI and ERP platforms, establishing SAP development teams in four countries (Sweden, UK, Germany & Singapore) and he was a recipient of the Gartner Business Intelligence Excellence Award for the most successful Business Intelligence implementation in Asia Pacific.
When asked where he and his company are along their innovation and transformation journey, Fredrik explained ‘we are right in the middle of the journey with Northvolt being an industrial startup, which is both a blessing and a curse. The curse part is that we don’t have anything and we need to scale up very fast. It’s not easy to find an industrial manufacturing startup and we deal with large factories so scaling up is critical. So when it comes to IT, we need to be extremely smart and have something that is very cost effective.
The beauty however is that we have no legacy. So we are a data driven company and some of our executives have come to us from Tesla and have the right mindset and learnings from their previous roles. So when it comes to things like AI, that is woven into our DNA from the beginning.’
When asked what their biggest challenge is now, Fredrik stated that talent is a big issue throughout the Nordics: ‘It is difficult to find people with in depth IT knowledge as well as industrial business knowledge. There are people who have been in IT for 20 years, but IT as we know it is now changing into a completely different animal and it is difficult to move these people across.
Being agile and able to adapt is very important; we don’t have data centres, everything is service. We don’t build things, we buy services and connect them. So the CIO is moving towards being a service broker rather than a traditional IT manager.
In terms of young people, they do not think twice if they want to leave as the job market is for them. That is a problem that everyone shares today.’